Women standing down on church leadership does not reflect the character of God described in scripture, but it describes the character of man. If by design, God placed a gift in all His people, who is man to set certain ministry roles on the basis of gender. While various passages support women leadership, the debate on women in ministry has caused a division within the church body.
Let’s take it back to Genesis
God first makes Adam. God did not want man to be alone. So, He took Adam’s rib and made Eve, Adam’s helper (Genesis 2:18). The term “helper” does not suggest any interpretation of submission or service to man but as a “helper” to serve God with man (Scholer). While distinct in gender, both are made in God’s image, and both are given the responsibility over God’s creation.
But because Adam is made first, some make the suggest of male headship over female and apply it to ministry leadership. Those who argue women should not be leaders align the order of creation with ranking. Chronology equals rank is an idea that cannot be found in scripture. If this was the case, man would be subject to animals. Paul settles this man-made thought in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12.
“Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).
Women should be silent…
That is actually found in scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:34-35 to be exact. Through a literal view, you can agree that women should be silent in church, therefore in ministry as well. But many churches do not follow that interpretation because it fails to tie into the context of the entire passage and Paul’s position on women in ministry overall. When reading the entire passage, context tells us Paul is addressing a specific silence and concerned about the appropriateness of it, for women speaking disruptively was viewed as a disgrace at that time (Scholer).
1 Timothy 2:11-12 is another verse that can be taken out of context if seen only through a literal view. Through proper biblical interpretation and term translation, Paul is against the abusive and unorderly activity within the church of Corinth, not the exercise of women teaching and leading in the church (Scholer).
Women with Jesus
Among his ministry, Jesus taught women and included them as his disciples. In the book of Luke, Elizabeth carried John the Baptist who would pave the path for Jesus. Anna was a prophetess and among the first to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah (Gaultiere). Furthermore, Mary Magdalene and other women traveled with Jesus and his disciples with the responsibility of financial support.
Women were leaders in the early church. Scripture teaches prophets were high-level leaders because they were Holy Spirit anointed, and the New Testament tells us female prophets were common (Gaultiere). Paul and Peter attest to women carrying leadership roles. With various supporting passages, it is dishonest to only lean on 1 Corinthains 11 and 1 Timothy 2 for support. God will continue to raise female leaders to advance His kingdom here on earth.
Gaultiere, Bill. “Women as Pastors, Elders, and Leaders in Bible-Based Churches.” Soul Shepherding, 27 Apr. 2022, https://www.soulshepherding.org/women-pastors-elders-leaders-bible-based-christian-churches/.
Scholer, David M. “Women in Ministry.” Fuller Seminary, 17 Aug. 2022, https://www.fuller.edu/womeninministry/.